GEORGE LACKEY – We need to step up and use our strategy heads to think clearly enough to map out campaigns that win.
GEORGE LACKEY – We need to step up and use our strategy heads to think clearly enough to map out campaigns that win.
LYLE JEREMY RUBIN – Coming home from the Forever War can be difficult. Not long after returning from Afghanistan as a Marine officer in early 2011, I found myself feeling betrayed by compatriots who worshiped the idea of my service while refusing to confront what that service entailed. There is a chasm of awareness that often exists between veterans and civilians, especially during an age in which an all-volunteer military prosecutes never-ending wars, and in which those Americans who end up experiencing combat prove statistically negligible. It isn’t so much a chasm of awareness as a chasm of memory.
LEE CAMP – We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name. While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names. Once every 12 minutes.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Although many people have criticized the bizarre nature of Donald Trump’s diplomacy with North Korea, his recent love fest with Kim Jong Un does have the potential to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Even so, buried far below the mass media coverage of the summit spectacle, the reality is that Trump―assisted by his military and civilian advisors―is busy getting the United States ready for nuclear war.
JACK F. MATLOCK JR. – “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” That saying—often misattributed to Euripides—comes to mind most mornings when I pick up The New York Times and read the latest “Russiagate” headlines, which are frequently featured across two or three columns on the front page above the fold. This is an almost daily reminder of the hysteria that dominates our Congress and much of our media.
LINDA J. BILMES – Humpty Dumpty famously cannot be “put back together” again. For those who care about the environment, every day since Donald Trump took office is a Humpty Dumpty day — with something being broken beyond repair.
PAUL STREET – Given the current state and rate of environmental destruction, the continuing advance in the destructive power of nuclear weapons systems, and the likelihood of pandemics in a warmer and more globalized world, there are good reasons to wonder if a human civilization with historians will exist a century from today. We may well be standing near the “end of history,” and not the glorious bourgeois-democratic one that Francis Fukuyama imagined with the end of the Cold War.
TOM H. HASTINGS – Since the #GagMeElection of 2016 we have heard a great deal about “resistance.” Nevertheless, we’ve seen relatively little of it actually happening. Who is doing what toward what announced goal?
CHRIS HEDGES – The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.
CHRIS HEDGES – The ruling elites, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of “fake news.”
JOHN LAFORGE – The US public wants to know why North Korea is so paranoid, militarily hostile and boastful. LaForge answers.
MARIANNE LAVELLE – These efforts are mostly flying under the radar, but they could short-circuit lawsuits and make it harder to restore environmental protections.
MEL GURTOV – Now, just below the radar, the US military is engaged in an ever-increasing number of “advise-and-assist” missions, supplemented by major arms deals and CIA-run drone strikes, that commit the US to long-term intervention in Africa and the Middle East. And Donald Trump, unlike Barack Obama, is happy to cede operational control—to “let the war fighters fight the war,” as Stephen Bannon told CNN.
ROB BYERS – Earlier this spring, I was asked a question about my late father, who had been a coal miner in the 1970s and ’80s. It had to do with a familiar romantic storyline: Did he feel at home underground? Was it a calling that tugged at him during the layoffs, a longing to get back to the job he loved? Short answer: No. Long answer: Hell, no.
JOSEPH GIBSON – “Trump has taken Obama’s massive and limitless drone war and quadrupled strikes—more than one a day now,” said Courage to Resist’s Jeff Paterson. “My hope is that because it’s now The Donald lawlessly murdering people with flying robots, folks will begin to realize how insane this ‘less interventionist’ policy is. Aside from being a terrorist recruiting tool, it’s morally unjustifiable. We need to resist, and support those with the courage to do so.”
ANDREW RESTUCCIA – President Donald Trump’s abrupt turnaround on U.S. climate policy is fueling tension with several of America’s closest allies, which are resisting the administration’s demands that they support a bigger role for nuclear power and fossil fuels in the world’s energy supply.
MEL GURTOV – As Donald Trump prepared to meet Xi Jinping, his administration was going down the old road of believing it can pressure China to solve the North Korea nuclear weapons problem—or face a US-initiated trade war.
TOM DICHRISTOPHER – The White House’s budget blueprint released Thursday seeks to revive spending for a hotly contested facility in Nevada that would store the nation’s nuclear waste.
REBECCA SOLNIT – I began talking about hope in 2003, in the bleak days after the war in Iraq was launched. Fourteen years later, I use the term hope because it navigates a way forward between the false certainties of optimism and of pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that goes with both. Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves.
KEVIN MARTIN – President Donald Trump likes to be known for his deal-making, and now he has the opportunity to make deals that can impact world peace and security, not just real estate or other business deals for his profit. North Korea would be a great place to start.
MARIA STEPHAN – Both the administrative pillar of resistance and the ‘Indivisible’ legislative pillar will be bolstered if linked to a grassroots strategy of cross-issue mobilizing and direct action – the core strategy.
NICOLAI PETRO – The Trump administration has a unique opportunity to change the American foreign policy debate about Russia and move beyond the outdated policy of containment.
DAVID SWANSON – When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith. Those standards are gone.
ROBERT PARRY – By inviting in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat hostile to “regime change” wars, President-elect Trump may be signaling a major break with Republican neocon orthodoxy and a big shake-up of the U.S. foreign policy establishment.
JONATHAN MARSHALL – Money may not be the root of all evil but it surely contributes to horrible war crimes when lucrative arms sales distort U.S. foreign policy and cause selective outrage over human rights atrocities: Forget oil. In the Middle East, the profits and jobs reaped from tens of billions of dollars in arms sales are becoming the key drivers of U.S. and British policy. Oil still matters, of course. So do geopolitical interests, including military bases, and powerful political lobbies funded by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf states. But you can’t explain Washington’s deference to Saudi Arabia, despite its criminal war in Yemen and its admitted support for Islamist extremism, without acknowledging the political pull generated by more than $115 billion in U.S. military deals with Saudi Arabia authorized since President Obama took office.
ALASTAIR CROOKE – In the aftermath of the U.S. attack on the Syrian army positions overlooking and commanding the Dier A-Zor airfield – the airfield, whose daily “Berlin air-bridge” style flights, are the sole lifeline to a city long besieged by ISIS – the Russian U.N. Ambassador asked a pertinent rhetorical question at the United Nations Security Council: Who is running U.S. policy: Is it the Pentagon or the White House?
JAMES BALL and SPENCER ACKERMAN – The National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant, according to a top-secret document passed to the Guardian by Edward Snowden.
TED GLICK – When did this silence begin? A piece in last week’s Guardian newspaper reminded me of how far back it goes, to a meeting the White House organized for leaders of environmental groups in March of 2009 at the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. At the meeting, according to the Guardian, aides to Obama made it clear that they did not plan to talk much about climate and wanted their supporters to do the same.
DAVID SWANSON – I’ve been trying (with virtually no success) to get everyone to drop the election obsession and focus on activism designed around policy changes, not personality changes. I want those policy changes to include stripping presidents of imperial powers. I don’t see as much difference between the two available choices as most people; I see each as a different shade of disaster. I don’t get distressed by the thought of people “spoiling” an election by voting for a legitimately good candidate like Jill Stein. Besides, won’t Romney lose by a landslide if he doesn’t tape his mouth shut during the coming weeks?
RALPH NADER – Dear President Obama: The sentiments expressed in this letter may have more meaning more for you now that the results of the mid-term elections are clear. You have seen what can happen when a number of your supporters lose their enthusiasm and stay home or do not actively participate as volunteers.
AFIF SAFIEH — The Obama administration has been persistent about the Middle East peace process. But is it serious about peace? If it is, and I believe that President Barack Obama is personally serious in spite of widespread skepticism among Arabs and Palestinians, then this administration needs to understand why its predecessors have failed. There were serious flaws in previous peace processes, and I saw how they played out firsthand from my posts in London, Washington and Moscow.
KATHY KELLY & DAN PEARSON — In accepting General McChrystal’s resignation, President Obama said that McChrystal’s departure represented a change in personnel, not a change in policy. “Americans don’t flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks.” he stated, “We persist and we persevere.” Yet, President Obama and the U.S. people don’t face up to the ugly truth that, in Afghanistan, the U.S. has routinely committed atrocities against innocent civilians.